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Child Custody Battles and Parental Alienation Syndrome

 

One of the most difficult negotiations in a divorce involves child custody. After living and raising the children together under one roof, suddenly both parents are battling to keep the children. It can turn into a very emotional and stressful time for both the parents and the children. Even extended family can be affected by a child custody fight.

Each case is different and no parent should ever make an assumption to their odds of winning and losing. If you are involved in a custody battle, there are some key issues to remember:

  • In the past, because mothers were typically the primary caretaker, they were usually awarded custody of the children. However, today that is no longer the case. Social norms have changed over the past few decades, with both parents working and fathers taking a more active role in the day to day care of children. That change is often reflected in family courts as judges frequently rule in favor of shared custody for parents.
  • Another issue that has changed over the past few years is how the courts react to parents who are being treated for depression, including the prescribed use of antidepressants. Generally, courts now feel that a parent who has sought out treatment for depression is more emotionally stable than a parent who may be clinically depressed yet refuses to see a doctor.
  • Even for parents who get along, it is important to have a child custody agreement in place. Parenting time during holidays, school vacations, etc. should all be decided now. Things change and what may be working now, might not work in the future, when one parent or both parents have remarried.
  • It is critical to keep child support issues and visitation completely separate. Too many parents think that if the non-custodial parent does not pay their child support, then the custodial parent can stop visitation. In the eyes of the court, these are both serious infractions.

Parental Alienation Syndrome

A growing – and serious – problem in child custody cases is parental alienation syndrome. This occurs when one parent who is trying to keep the child away from the other parent uses several forms of manipulation, including limiting contact with the parent, bad-mouthing the other parent, convincing the child that the other parent is abusive, to turn the child against that parent. The child may also be convinced that they have to choose between the two parents.

 

Many family courts recognize parental alienation has a form of child abuse and there have even been cases where one parent has lost custody because of their campaign of turning their children against the other parent. Judges also recognize that there are cases where abuse exists, and it may be in the best interest of the child to stop contact with that parent, including banning any visitation.

 

If your child’s other parent has been using parental alienation tactics to interfere with your relationship with your child, you may have grounds to modify your current custody order. If you or a loved one is the victim of parental alienation, contact a Scottsdale AZ Guardian Lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that your case is solved immediately.


Thank you to Hildebrand Law for providing insight on parental alienation and custody.

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